I knew already about the Involvement Group when Linda first mentioned to me the possibility of joining (I have a tendency to read posters and things wherever I go, a legacy of boring waits in the doctor’s surgery when I was a child…). But I will admit that I was a bit uncertain at first about getting involved, in truth I wasn’t sure whether I really had anything to offer. I gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that it was very nice to be asked, and that seeing as Linda had asked so nicely it was only polite to give it proper consideration. So I said that I would come along and attend a meeting and see how I felt.
A couple of months, and two meetings, later and I can honestly say that I will be sticking around. What I came to realise at the first meeting was not only that I had something to contribute, but also that everybody does. We all have experiences, and because of that we all have our different viewpoints, and all of them are valid. We all have something to say about what works well and what could be improved in Mental Health Services provision, and it is important that we take the opportunities to have our voices heard.
I think it is going to be a bit of a challenge admittedly. There is a lot of change coming in terms of how services are provided, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to have a voice. I’ve also volunteered to help in the process of assessing FADHM’s services against the Scottish Recovery Networks quality indicators. (I grew up amongst Air Force kids, you’d think I’d have learned how to not be there when the magic “volunteer” word was said wouldn’t you?) I think there may be a tiny little bit of work involved in that, but I am actually quite looking forward to it.
Thinking back about it, it feels nice to have been asked and I am quite glad that I decided to say yes. I think it is an important thing to be involved it, and I think it is a challenge I am going to enjoy.